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Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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111 search results found for “drug chronicles”

“The Hive” by Elaina Acosta Ford

You tiptoe through the dark labyrinth of the Hive until you reach the tiny room where you’ve spent every Thursday night for the last couple of months toiling away to no avail. The stench of Gouda, Kathleen’s patchouli, and the tang of potentially unfulfilled dreams waft through the air. A metal chair screeches against the gray linoleum when you pull it out, causing everyone to gawk at you. Kathleen rolls her eyes but does not relent. The weak smile spreading across your face fades as you remind yourself that this is the last time you’re going to see these people—your people. You promise yourself that you won’t sip wine or munch crackers or make small talk when this is all over. Saying goodbye is hard enough without all the empty calories and tedious chatter. You swear to yourself this is going to be the last time you pay to play. Your pocketbook and soul can’t take it anymore.

“Tinkerbell Forgets to Knock” by Elizabeth Roderick

Les’s twenty-foot RV was parked in the gravel drive of a little house with a sagging roof. Plastic deer nestled into the flower beds around it, among clumps of zinnias and cracked planters full of wilting petunias. Some friends of Les’s lived there with their ailing grandmother, no doubt appropriating her Social Security checks and pain meds. I’d only met them in passing, a lank-haired woman and her scraggly-mustached boyfriend.

I hated myself for being there, but I parked next to a dirty old Toyota sedan and hauled myself out of the car anyway. Fuck it, I told myself. Are you really trying to be one of those dorks with a clean life and an office job? Who are you kidding? I sank down beneath my guilt and worry, settling back into the comfortable hog wallow of my ignominy as I mounted the stairs of the RV.

The door rattled when I opened it, and I stepped in, very nearly falling back out again when I found myself at the end of a pistol . . .

“First Time, Last Time” by Robert M. Detman

Harry glances around the room, the trim freshly painted. Someone with money owns the place. Maybe Christiane’s family.

“Does anyone live here?” Harry asks.

Gem sneers at this pretense of familiarity.

“You ask too many questions, man . . .”

“Friend” by Nancy Nau Sullivan

Tater. His real name was Willam Francis McKinny III, but he got the name Tater because he was about as useless as a potato on legs when he drank. His best friend Nick Plakowitz named him that soon after the two of them started stealing Jim Beam from Nick’s dad’s liquor locker in the basement that was set up like a pool hall. Nick poured water in the square booze bottle so his dad wouldn’t know.

Tater said, “He’s gonna know.”

“Nah, he don’t want to deal with it. He too busy with that paint business of his.”

Tater shrugged. Nick’s dad never said a word . . .

“Getting Bombed in Iraq” by Raymond E. Lee

A hole at the base of a crumbling T-wall was the only point of entry to the group’s hideaway. Inside they were like kids in a clubhouse. They felt safe there, the wash of incandescent lighting creating shadows from every angle. They could drink, smoke, play cards, and talk shit about everybody they worked with without fear of outsiders or superiors intruding . . .

“Brown Paper Sack Guys” by Brenda McCray

Nancy took the job at the new liquor store to supplement her shitty government salary. The liquor store allowed her to work weekends and in the evenings after leaving her regular job—only a two-minute walk from one to the other. Every morning when she walked from her car to her office, she would see the same cast of characters posted up in front of the gray-and-beige county government building, which was situated only a few blocks from the homeless mission . . .